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Friday, 21 February 2020 11:04

Penrith City Council deploys Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer service for digital transformation Featured


Penrith City Council in NSW has deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service as part of a cloud-first digital transformation to streamline and lift the quality of the delivery of services - including waste management - to a rising population.

In order to deliver the services Penrith has deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service to support interactions with customers regarding their waste management services.

Previously customers with a query – a collection had been missed; a bin had been damaged – needed to call the council’s waste service provider, and in a typical year as many as 80,000 such calls would be received.

By integrating Dynamics 365 Customer Service with the council’s waste contractor’s own computer system it is now possible for customers to raise requests on the Penrith Council portal – My.Penrith.City (in Dynamics 365 Customer Service) - and have that directly communicated to the waste contractor’s system for action. Each truck or crew also have mobile solutions available.

When Penrith Council recently renewed its waste services contract, it wanted those tens of thousands of requests to be made via the council’s Customer Experience centre.

Over the next few years Penrith is slated for massive growth with the opening of the second Sydney airport and its surrounding aerotropolis, and until recently Penrith managed the growth without a customer relationship management system (CRM), making it hard to achieve a comprehensive view of all customer engagements to provide timely responses and follow ups when needed.

Jane Howard, ICT operations manager with Penrith Council leads the team delivering the digital transformation and says that the program of work has a customer focus "front and centra"l.

“That’s very, very important. We want to be able to deliver agile, innovative, and efficient services through technology,” she says.

“Our vision, is for the customer to be kept informed, and receive feedback through the duration of the requests they’ve made of council, until finalised.”

According to Howard, “since we went live in July, we registered 16,000 requests from our customers. The majority are still received by our Customer Experience team by phone, but we’ve undergone a recent campaign trying to channel-shift customers from the traditional ‘phone-up council’, to registering them online”.

“This channel is now growing, since starting the campaign and is becoming very, very effective.”

Under the system, customers are provided with a request identification number and once the request has been fulfilled or addressed the waste contractor’s system alerts Penrith’s Dynamics 365 Customer Service system and an email is automatically sent to the customer.

“Our point of difference is that we look holistically at end to end business processes to deliver the best possible customer experience,” Howard said.

”We’re the first Council in NSW to have this level of integration and sophistication with our waste service provider to enable this.”

Penrith City Council has worked with Microsoft partner Velrada to ensure best practices were in place to make the digital transformation a success.

“At Velrada, we pride ourselves in our approach of working in partnership with industry and organisations to deliver transformational outcomes through understanding business practices and processes and leveraging appropriate Microsoft technologies to drive change," says Dominic Nolan, GM Solutions, Velrada. 

“Penrith City Council is a forward-thinking Council delivering a large program of customer-service led, digital transformation and Velrada has enjoyed the challenges and complexities of helping create their Microsoft Platform,” Nolan said.

Microsoft says that since going live in July, a few of the benefits the city has seen include:

  • Increased resident satisfaction: Residents are now able to lodge queries relating to waste management services via the Dynamics 365 enabled Customer Experience centre, meaning queries can be tracked and monitored via email alerts – reducing calls to the customer service team and ensuring faster solutions to waste management issues.
  • Mobility for council workers: Since shifting to Office 365 as its productivity platform, Penrith City Council workers can now benefit from anytime, anywhere, any-device access to increase mobility of work.

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Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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